It's cold again today. By the end of February, I'm ready for the end of winter, too. It's a lot like the way I feel about two-thirds of the way through my morning strength-training class at the gym - enough already, let's get to the part where we get to lie down and stretch.
This year Mother Nature has teased us mercilessly with a day here and a day there of balm, quickly dashed by single-digit temperatures. Like another round of deadlifts and mountain-climbers, it's wearisome.
But even in sub-freezing temperatures, February also brings hope. After weeks of indiscernable shift in the balance between day and night, the pace begins to pick up. Just in the last week or so, the day is brightening when I take Mr. James for his morning walk, and there's still a bit of sunlight on the horizon when I walk home from the bus stop in the evening.
Even if I didn't check the daily sunrise and sunset times in the newspaper, or remember the lessons from 7th grade science class about the earth's annual trips around the sun, I know from memories of Februaries past that brighter days are on the way.
I thought about this one day last week while reading a Newsweek article about economic meltdowns over time. We've all seen the articles comparing our current situation to slowdowns in 2000, the early 1980s, even the dismal days of the Great Depression. This article went a lot further back, however, detailing the economy's ups and downs since the late 1700s.
The overarching take-away for me is that for every plunge, there has been a rebound. Sometimes sooner rather than later, but it seems that centuries of experience tell us that what goes down, economically speaking, eventually comes back up. Maybe not with the same predictability as winter that turns to spring and 15 hour nights become 15 hour days. But the cold, dark days do cycle into warmth and light.
Which of course doesn't make it any easier right now, when we don't know if it's November, with the darkest, coldest days ahead, or January, when the worst is behind us. I'm thinking it's probably the former. I fervently hope that I, and those I love, don't find ourselves out in the cold and that those who suffer find a haven to survive the arctic blast.
But when I step outside to take Mr. James for his morning walk, and see day breaking in the east, I have hope.